Alphabet Soup, What the Heck is a CCRC?
The type of residence to live in during retirement is one of the major decisions one will have to make in the later years of life. There are many choices to consider – do you stay in the family home, downsize and purchase a condo, move closer to family, move to a warmer climate, or consider a “CCRC,” also known as a continuing care retirement community.
Because real estate for many people is one of their largest assets, and not income producing, the decision on where to live in your retirement is a major financial consideration. I’ll go into some detail on why one might choose a CCRC and next week I’ll address the financial considerations.
You may need to make this decision for yourself or, perhaps, help advise a parent on this important issue. There are two main reasons a person or couple will choose a CCRC. The first is social – neighborhoods change over time, and as new people move in, or neighbors die, the social aspect, or lack of social interaction in one’s life can make a person feel lonely or isolated. Second, perhaps due to a medical condition, you are unable to drive or be as mobile as before. Maintaining a home can be expensive, time consuming, and physically difficult. A CCRC lightens that burden. The community keeps people engaged, and there are numerous amenities that can make life more enjoyable.
However, for all the positive aspects, these facilities are expensive, and you have to qualify from a health standpoint before you will be considered. So if this type of lifestyle is appealing to you, your current health (and your spouse’s, if married) must be taken into consideration. You cannot make the decision to do this when a crisis occurs – then it’s too late.
It is good to familiarize yourself with the options available in your city: compare facilities by visiting, talking to residents, analyzing the differences between contracts to help you choose the best place for you.
Many residents we have talked to say their quality of life has been enhanced by their move to a CCRC. There is a support system in place in a CCRC that is hard to duplicate by staying in your home. For example, if you don’t drive, you don’t have to arrange for someone to take you to the doctor, to the store, or to go to a movie. Most CCRCs have transportation services available on site. If you are married and your spouse requires assisted living or nursing home care, they may just be on another floor rather than another part of the city.
But all of this comes with a price tag and a contract that is expensive and difficult to get out of, so doing your research on the front end is extremely important. I’ll delve into that in my next blog post.
To be continued…
Posted on June 20th, 2016 in finance.